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Travel insurance in the age of covid

I have never bought travel insurance as my current policy covers medical expenses up to $50,000 internationally. I am on a RS Tour in April for the best of Turkey and the Covid 2023 update is not posted. Quarantine restriction and change of return flight costs are my concerns if I test positive. Turkish Airline does not say anything about testing positive prior to flight.

Any advice?

Posted by
7659 posts

What you are seeing is a reflection of lifted restrictions. Aside from China, I am not aware of any countries that are imposing travel restrictions. I think every country has guidance that says if you test positive, you should isolate, not fly, etc., but there are no enforced requirements. Basically it is up to your common sense.

I suppose if you are visibly ill and have a fever, authorities might step in, but the typical mild symptoms, probably not.

I do not think the cost impact, or risk seen back a year ago or more still exists, you are not going to be shuttled off to a hotel for a couple weeks, and to be honest, unless you are physically sick, will you test?

Travel insurance is certainly something to consider, check with your airline on changes, many have waived change fees, and cost impact of ticket price may be limited.

Edit: probably need to add, things change, another variant is emerging, measures can be reimposed, not likely, but possible, so take that into account.

Posted by
7501 posts

I started buying travel insurance when our parents got elderly. But your focus on medical costs (which does not include evacuation or transport home) indicates that you are not concerned about air costs or prepaid tour expenses. What has changed for you?

I mean, people break their ankles on steps or cobblestones all the time. So the prevalence of Covid is not a full reason for changing your personal policies. My costs for insurance have gone up since I'm over 70. But I still buy full insurance.

Edit: Many people want their travel insurance purchase to be effortless. But unless you read every word of the multipage "sample" policy, you will not know exactly what your insurance covers. Nowadays, you have to look for specific language about Covid-19 or "epidemics, pandemics, or other unforseen medical .... " If the plan says you have to insure the "full cost of the trip" to get Cancellation coverage, that means cheaping-out and insuring less than the full cost will invalidate your entire Cancellation coverage. If you don't buy within the "Pre-existing conditions" waiver period (often, 10-days or two weeks) of your FIRST purchase of travel services, you won't have coverage for pre-existing conditions. Travel insurance is not simple. And EVERY policy is different.

I made a phone call to verify that my particular company (to my surprise) did not have "pre-existing condition" exclusions for my parents, because they were not the Travelers being insured! That was a big plus for me. Why did I call? Because those words did not appear in the sample coverage document!

Posted by
8529 posts

The question is always, could I afford to cover increased costs on my own?

Your medical is covered and you are wondering about trip interruption benefits. You mention you will be on a RS tour. They prorate the cost of the tour and refund the amount you are not participating in if you must leave the tour due to Covid. I anticipate that this would cover any additional lodging costs you might incur should quarantine requirements be reinstated.

Your other concern was change in airfare. Could you cover this without insurance?

I have dear friends on a month long trip to Australia. He went the first two weeks without his luggage and at the end of week #3 hers is still MIA. Travel insurance can help with these types of expenses as well.

A good credit card will often have some travel insurance with it and often some good travel perks. You may want to explore if you already have some coverage or if getting the right credit card would cover your needs.

Posted by
83 posts

Thank you so much for all the advice. I guess my concern stems from RS Tours for 2023 guidelines no stated as yet. Maybe I’ll call.

Thanks again.

Posted by
14 posts

At the top of the main website landing page is a Covid FAQ link. The FAQ is updated for 2023.

Posted by
7501 posts

The article has a paywall, but today's NY Times has a consumer complaint about losing $17,000 on an Antarctic cruise, because the major airline incorrectly said she lacked two travel documents [that were in fact not needed].

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/06/travel/tripped-up-missed-cruise.html?smid=url-share

Here are some quotes from the article:

You booked a multi-leg, international flight that was to arrive less than 24 hours before your very expensive trip was to begin, a risky plan. ...

I asked Trip Mxxx to explain why your claim had been denied. ... “While we empathize and understand that the insured’s travel was negatively impacted,” he wrote, “the plan does not cover errors made in determining travel documentation.”

I [Times author] begged to differ, noting that your policy covers trip delays caused by common carriers “including, but not limited to, scheduled departure and return times and actual departure and return times.” That “not limited to” implies to me that events like being involuntarily bumped from a flight or, say, being told mistakenly by a rookie agent in Nashville that you can’t board a flight to Chile, also qualify as potential “hazards.”

I told this to Trip Mxxx, and they seemed to blink, if just slightly. “With any claim that is submitted,” Mr. Jxxxx wrote back, “we look at the situation holistically to see where we can apply benefits within the limits of the specific policy.” The policy does limit reimbursement for “trip delays” to $3,000, though.
[end of quote]
This looks like a rare case where the tour company's own insurance product, which often allows 24-hour future-travel-credit cancellation, might have paid off. But buying a provider's own plan is often discouraged because it's likely to fail in the event of the provider's bankruptcy. And the incident was perilously close to the 24-hour window.

Edit: Turns out this has already been posted, with a "gift" (free) link to the article
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/transportation/a-17-000-mistake-by-aa-and-she-missed-her-dream-trip